Sometimes, AT looks complicated, like a computer that can be programmed to talk for someone who can’t speak or computer software that reads aloud or performs other essential learning tasks that students cannot yet do for themselves.
Sometimes AT looks very simple, like a timer or switch to turn something on or off; a chart of multiplication facts to allow for efficient multiplication of multi-digit numbers; or lined paper to assist a student in keeping handwriting legible.
In still other situations, AT is a service. This might be teaching a child, parent, or teacher to use a tool. It might be note-taking or reading a test to a student. It might even be setting up or repairing a tool for student use. All AT serves the same purpose—compensating for skills that are yet unlearned, or maybe even impossible for specific people with disabilities to perform, so all students can learn and participate as much as possible in school activities.
AT often is used to refer to what might more specifically be called Instructional Technology—software and learning tools that are considered useful for teaching and learning but are not essential for a specific student to learn. This overlap occurs because some tools are considered good for the learning of many students, while for a few students, these tools are essential for learning.
JAMP Special Education Services has a lending library of assistive technology tools that are available for use by our member District’s. The tools include switches for computer and toy access, portable word processors, various software programs for word prediction, communication devices and computation. In addition to the lending library JAMP and its member Districts are members of Infinitec AT Coalition. Members have exclusive access to an extensive library of Assistive Technologies ranging from simple switches and expanded keyboards to high-end Augmentative Communication devices. This library was developed by Special Education Directors and is one of the most expansive equipment libraries in the nation.